Chapman returns to field as Louisville Bat


by Brooke Hasch

Posted on May 6, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 7 at 12:08 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Cincinnati Reds Pitcher Aroldis Chapman took to the mound Tuesday evening at Slugger Field, where he got his start in the major leagues.

After a long, grueling rehabilitation from being hit in the head with a line drive, he pitched the first inning of the Bats game.

"Aroldis Chapman, he is the fastest pitcher in all of baseball," Gavin Corby, a Chapman fan said.

Chapman's recovery has mirrored that of his fastest pitch, clocked in at a record 105 mph. His fast ball was put on hold after his injury on March 19.

"It just made me cringe to look at it. He didn't even get a chance to put his hands up," Tommie Schuler, a Reds fan said.

After weeks of rehabilitation, Chapman first tested his strength in Dayton and now Louisville.

"I'm dying to see Chapman pitch again. Ever since he got hurt, I've been wondering if he's going to be the same," Schuler said.

He says he hasn't felt fear or anxiety on the field. Chapman says he's ready to get back home.

"He says he feels like he's ready to go. He needs to throw a couple more innings. The decision is up to the Reds organization when they're going to call him up but he himself feels like he's ready to go," Rigo Febles, Chapman’s translator and an assistant strength coordinator for the Reds said.

"I'm hoping he gets a lot of strikes," Noah Woosley, a Chapman fan said.

He left the first inning after just two outs. In 33 pitches, he struck out 1 and allowed 5 runs.

"He said he just didn't have control of his fast ball tonight. He obviously wasn't thinking of striking guys out. He was trying to locate his fast ball but it wasn't there today," Febles said.

The support from his fans never faltered.

"I love you. I support you. I'm just so glad to see how fast you're recovering. And I know that you’re going to be great," Nzinga Brooks said. "You can't keep him down. He's got the mental focus and the physical training to be there and he's ready to get back into the bigs."

Chapman agreed. He says he's excited to return to the mound and give fans a better show Wednesday afternoon, for a game scheduled at 11:05 a.m.